OTTAWA, ONTARIO, August 24, 2011 – Cheryl Gallant, MP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, was pleased to invite local Forestry leaders to discuss key trade and manufacturing issues with the Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade, at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Friday August 19th.
“This March, I hosted a Wood Producers’ Meeting in order to examine the looming protectionist measures and the underpricing of lumber on the part of the American lumber industry,” said MP Gallant. “The meeting with Minister Fast today was well represented from across Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke. In addition to presentations by Kris Heideman of Heideman and Sons Bob McRae of McRae’s Lumber in Whitney, and Dean Felhaber of Ben Hokum and Son’s Ltd., Leo Hall of Opeongo Forestry, Steve MacDonald from Herb Shaw and Sons, Stan Pecoskie, John Jefferey, and Peter Paten of Pastway Planing Mill, participated.” said MP Gallant.
Minister Fast welcomed the representatives and enjoyed their informative presentation. “I want to thank you all for coming here to bring these serious matters to my attention, and I wish to especially thank Cheryl Gallant for arranging this meeting today,” said Minister Fast.
The leaders presented several important issues to the Minister, such as the U.S. government’s likely upcoming decision to no longer exempt Canadian wood exports from the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM no. 15) on wood packaging material, the process of heat treatment of wood products, and the influx of Hardwood and Pine coming into Canada than being shipped to the U.S.
Bob McRae explained the issue of heat treated wood packaging material moving between Canada and the US. He argued that the US may be attempting to use the requirement to heat treat hardwood packing and pallet material as a trade impediment to reduce the volume of Canadian hardwood material entering the US.
Dean Felhaber, President of Ben Hokum and Sons elaborated on topic of trade of red and white pine wood. He discussed how large volumes of red and white pine being shipped into the Canadian market by the US and how local producers are at a disadvantage when the U.S. is offering subsidies, tax benefits which are unavailable to Ontario producers.
“The underpricing of U.S. lumber is damaging the local industry however Canadians elected our Conservative government with a strong mandate to maintain the economic stability of our country. We now have capacity to move forward on this issue and help keep existing jobs.” concluded MP Gallant.